Day 013: Eating Animals
Summary: Out on a joint hunting trip, a dog, a Skaikru delinquent and one of the Trikru discuss what the two tribes might learn from each other.
Date: 22 May 2016
Related: Follows after Do Sit Under the Apple Tree
Cassandra Roose 

The Forest Fringes of Coesbur
See below
13 Days After Landing

Roose waits with his arms crossed over his chest near the edge of the forest with Spirit sitting beside him, panting happily. The man considered riding a horse, but decided that the Skaikru woman probably doesn't know how to ride at all. He will be sure to point that out as another failing on her point, since she seems so concerned with trying to impress. It is about midday and the sun shines down in the open area of the village, but the trees beyond dark the day. He has his bow and quiver of arrows strapped to his back, and a few containers and bits here and there on his belt and person. As he runs a had through his long, dark hair, he asks Spirit, "Do you think we will have to carry her back. She seemed very thin like the wind would snap her in two. All of the Skaikru seem that way. I guess it helps them stay in the sky. They might risk falling if they get any bigger."

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Survival: Great Success.

It's a mere few hours before Kasandra kom Skaikru soon picks up on Roose kom Trikru's trail, following Spirit's clawed tracks away from the apple grove. She is indeed concerned with trying to impress, which is why when she cannot find him right away in the village, she is pleased rather than disheartened. He spies her crouched low to the ground, smiling up at him from the underbrush, her fingers pressed to a paw-print in the dirt. "You're too easy to track," she cockily claims as she straightens up, canting her head his way before glancing thoughtfully between him and the dog. "Did you train her to speak your language? What did you say?"

Roose smirks a touch as Kasandra tells him how easy he is track. In English, he explains, "I was not attempting to hide from you, Kasandra kom Skaikru. If I had, it would have been nightfall before you had even discovered the trail." He says this with relaxed confidence, no boasting, as though he merely has stated an objective fact of the universe. "But it is good to see you trying. You and your people might just survive down here yet, if you keep up that effort." He looks down at Spirit then and nods, "She only understands our speech. It is easier to train in one language that two." He looks then to the forest, before his dark brown eyes turn back to the young woman. "So how do you suggest to impress me?"

Crossing the earthen distance between her and Roose, Kasandra soon arrives in closer proximity. She checks with her eyes to see if this is okay, and reaches out to gently touch Spirit's head once more. This time, as she's in less of a rush, she lets her hand explore the creature's coat, equal parts fascinated and maybe slightly frightened. "Do you hunt with your dog?" she asks. "I can hunt too, but not without a weapon or someone to hold it." And she is unarmed, as are all of her people in their visit to the Grounder village. "But if you do the hunting, I can gather some medicinal herbs along the way."

Spirit remains sitting and panting, closing her eyes to a half-lidded state as she gets stroked. Being quite comfortable with others touching her, she does not mind the strange woman approaching. Roose answers her question with a nod. "Yes, she does. Our animals work with us. I have a dog, because she is useful to me in hunting and scouting. If someone else wants a dog just to have one, it will be difficult for them to acquire one. You do not have animals in the sky, correct? No birds to keep you company?" Those are in the sky right? As she says she has no weapon, the man gives her another nod. "Very well, you can find the game, and I will catch it." Let's see if she can help feed the village.

Roose's phrasing of his need for his dog not merely as a companion, but an object with a purpose, has the delinquent (Cassandra Bonheur to her own people) looking up towards him knowingly. "No birds," she confirms. "We don't have animals, just plants. And, well, humans I guess. We're mammals too." Straightening up and relinquishing Spirit's coat, she starts to pick a path through the woods, dark brown eyes roaming the trees and forest floor. She may lack the practical experience on the ground, but it's clear she's been taught what to look for and how. Her voice falls quieter once they're on the move. "Dogs have a really keen sense of smell. About forty times better than ours. Does she find the game for you as well as killing it?"

Roose moves to follow the woman into the woods, the arms crossed at his chest dropping, and he starts to step quieter as they break the threshold of the wilderness. Spirit pads along behind them for now, sniffing lightly at the ground. "She find the game, yes," he answers. "But I typically kill it with my arrows. It is quicker and easier that way, and it risks less harm to Spirit. She does not have a pack to hunt with, only me, so she cannot bring down he game we seek." He lets Kasandra steer the direction of their foray, watching her as she displays what skill she has for the forest. "How do your people know how to hunt and find plants in the forest, if there are no forests in the sky?"

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Survival: Success.

"With science," says Cassandra, and there's that strange word again. "We have teachers. We've been preserving the science for generations, passing it down for when we could one day come back to the Earth. And we don't have forests, but we have farms — like, really complex, pretty damn cool farms. Not as beautiful as the forests you have here." She nods to the trees, and glances back to watch with interest what it is that Spirit's doing. "But they're pretty. Artificial greenhouses, do you have greenhouses? We put plants behind glass and have like whole sections in the sky dedicated to growing plants really densely and efficiently; as little water as possible wasted, as few resources. Everything's about efficiency on the Ark, but here…" She needn't finish that sentence, to her mind. She just turns back to the trees and takes in a deep breath of beautiful, fresh, free air. "I was top of my class for Earth Skills," she brags. "Now, I get to put them to use down here." Evidently having found something, she comes to a stop. By her foot is a small pile of rabbit droppings.

<FS3> Roose rolls Alertness: Great Success.
<FS3> Roose rolls Stealth+1: Good Success.
<FS3> Roose rolls Archery: Success.

Roose just listens to the woman go on and on about where she is from, a smile growing on his features. She may have the knowledge but her practical skills, like not scaring game away by talking too much, need a little work. Spirit continues sniffing the trail, slowly moving past Roose, so she can catch a scent ahead of him. As she comes to a stop, he immediately notes the droppings. "We are efficient here as well. We waste nothing. While you may not have much and must reuse it, we have to work hard for every little bit we take." His bow comes off of his box and is readied, as he knocks an arrow to it. Spirit has disappeared into the underbrush, sniffing out the rabbit to bring it back to him. "A rabbit will feed a couple of people or more if made into a stew." Suddenly Spirit is barking and coming towards him. A rabbit bursts out of the brush and his dog follows soon after. Roose aims the arrow and lets loose, just missing the animal as it flees in another direction. With a sigh of frustration, he whistles and Spirit comes loping back in their direction, while he goes to fetch the arrow to see if it is usable again.

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Finesse+finesse: Success.

It's clear that Kasandra kom Skaikru is no hunter, if indeed there was ever any doubt in the first place, when their prey bursts forth from the bushes. It takes her a second to react, but when it comes to rabbits, that's a second too long. She dashes forwards, but by the time she does, Spirit is barking and all signs of that fluffy little tail are gone. She bites her lip with frustration, then turns back towards Roose. "Well… would have fed a couple people," she supposes. "You make your clothes from their skins too, right? Animal skins."

Roose checks the arrow and slides it back into his quiver, slinging the bow's strap across his shoulder. "Yes, we do. Not many other places for them to come from, other than the remaining bits we find from before." He chuckles a bit. "Yes, would have. Arrows sometimes do not land. We will simply have to look more and see what else Spirit can stir from the forest. You are doing a good job so far." He gestures for her to lead the way, watching her form for a bit to see if she is showing any tiredness from the outing yet. Spirit puts her nose back to the ground and moves to walk alongside Kasandra.

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Survival: Good Success.
<FS3> Roose rolls Survival+1: Good Success.

It's clear that the young Skaikru delinquent is used to being told she does a good job; she puffs up with pride when it happens again, like she never gets tired of hearing it despite already having great confidence in herself. She does not look tired yet, either. "Is it only dogs you use?" she asks. "When you hunt, I mean. You don't use horses? Too noisy, I guess." She takes her cue to silence herself and wanders on ahead, pursuing the trail of rabbit droppings even despite their failure to catch the first. Maybe there's a den nearby, she figures.

"I also ride occasionally, but I am not the best rider in the village. Spirit and I do well enough. Also, as you say, a horse can scare prey away." As she quiets, Roose does as well and follows her through the forest as they search for another bit of game. He may spy it around the same time she does, but he ays nothing, and he makes a gesture to Spirit which causes her to immediately sit rather than go after the prey. He waits for Cassandra to show that she notices it before acting, as this is her test, not his.

<FS3> Roose rolls Stealth+1: Success.

Cassandra catches Roose's eye, sensing that something around them has given him pause, before she looks around and spots it too. Silently, she points to a tree, one where the bark is peeling, scratched up, and looks to have been marked as territory by the horns of a buck. When she searches around the area, she soon points out a pair of hoof marks, but stops, waiting to see what it is that Spirit does. She doesn't reply to her Trikru companion for now, but when she watches it, it's clear that there's a question on her mind.

<FS3> Roose rolls Archery: Good Success.

Spirit remains still unmoving until finally, when Roose is satisfied that Cassandra has indeed found the buck, he makes a different gesture which send Spirit running in the direction the deer. After a few quiet second pass, barking and the rustling of animals moving can be hear, and Roose readies his bow and arrow once more. This time when Spirit flushes the animal into the clearing, Roose strikes the deer in the flank and immediately grabs another arrow to fire more. continuing the rapid shots, he lands four arrows, before the one sinking into the buck's neck brings it down. With a warm he smile, he nods. "You might be skilled enough to be among the Trikru, Kasandra kom Skaikru. You are almost as skilled at finding prey as Spirit." He draws a knife from his belt and strides over to the buck to deliver a kissing blow to guarantee its death. "This should be enough for many villagers. There are even antlers for Que to carve. He will be pleased." Spirit just comes loping back in their direction once with a look on her mug that, if she were a human, would appear like a wide, satisfied smile.

Every fibre of Cassandra's being visibly tenses as Roose rapidly draws that arrow and fires into the deer. She can't quite help herself and pumps her fist into the air, hissing a quiet, 'Yes!' And though she hasn't moved a muscle, she's now breathing heavily, evidently having managed to tire herself out just watching the hunt. She looks back to Roose when he praises her yet again, and this time, rather than taking the compliment with an air of bravado, she looks genuinely satisfied — this, unlike the previous, is praise she's not heard before. And so she grins from ear to ear, but steps back to watch the man drive his knife into the large beast. "What do you carve the antlers into?" she asks from behind him, voice still quiet out of habit. A second question, the one which was on her mind before, follows in rapid succession before he can answer. "Where do you find horses? Are they wild?"

Roose looks up at Cassandra from his squat next to the animal as she cheers her victory. "It is a fine animal you have found, so please celebrate." He gets to work preparing the buck to be taken back to the village; though, he might need some help getting it all the way there. The arrows are carefully removed and examined once more to see if any have reached the point of disuse, before quivering them all. "The antlers and bones can be made into ornamentation and minor tools where use won't break them." Spirit watches with fascination and likely a bit of hunger as he preps the deer. The question about horses earns a quiet chuckle from the dusky-skinned man. "Some are wild, yes, but, as you may not know since you do not have animals in the sky, horses mate like humans do and bear young. A herd of horses will produce for us more horses to carry on the work. Much as we produce more Trikru to carry on."

"Do you have horses at the village?" Cassandra circles round towards the back of the deer, where she frowns down at the bloody wound. It draws her attention, and the Grounder may note the sickly look in her eyes, common to the very young who are as yet unaccustomed to killing animals. It shows weakness; she is not yet a killer. "More than you need, I mean. I… was wondering if I could buy one."

Roose looks up at Cassandra as she asks into the horses. "Yes, we have horses in the village. Afaye cares for them." Then comes the question if she can purchase one, which causes him to laugh, "That is a conversation you should have with Afaye, but I can assure you her answer will not be one you want to hear." Then he stands and looks at her pointedly, "And what is it you would offer in exchange for one of our horses?" He looks down at the large buck and takes a deep breath. "I think I will need assistance with this one. Do you think you can help?" He looks back at her small frame critically, sizing her up.

The question Roose poses her has the scrawny skygirl pursing her lips, but soon nodding her head. She may know how to track down a deer by its hoof-marks and territory markings, but as she holds out her hands towards the creature's antlers, it's clear she does not know how to pick it up. "We should tie its hooves together," she says, not wanting to be obvious in her cluelessness. "Do you have something to tie it to? We can carry either end." Leaning down, she tepidly tries to grab it by the horns, pulling, only to soon realise just how heavy it is.

Roose has been tying the hooves together as part of the preparation. The front and back legs are tied separately. He chuckles a bit as she seems lost as to how to approach this. "Over your shoulder. You will tire long before we get back to the camp if you try to hold it by the antlers." He leans over and begins to lift the front of the animal up, moving to drape the front half over her shoulder, while he lefts the back end up over his. "Do you think you can return like this?" he asks as the head of the dead deer hangs off of her in front of her.

"Yeah," says the sky girl, as nonchalantly as she can muster. Her brow remains deeply furrowed, and she looks like she might be sick as she stares into the deer's eyes. "So I guess I talk to Afaye if it's a horse I want. And if I want a hound?" She uses this excuse to tear her gaze from the kill's and back to Roose's, striving to stay on task. Notably, she still makes no move to actually touch the animal's flank.

Roose finally gets the animal situated and starts to move, hopefully bringing Cassandra along. "I do not believe we have one person who handles the hounds as they belong to individuals for the most part. I guess you could speak to anyone who has a female dog." He gestures to Spirit, "I have not bred her yet, but I probably should in the next year or two. Again, though, that raises the question of what you offer in exchange for taking a pup that could be put to use hunting or scouting?" He slaps the deer on their shoulders, chuckling as he says, "And finding this deer is not a worthy exchange."

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Brawn+brawn: Success.

Cassandra grimaces when the deer lands on her shoulder, but with Roose's support, she manages not to buckle under its weight as they forge their way back to camp. Each step has her dragging her shoes in the dirt. "What is a worthy exchange?" she asks in a winded voice, after some hesitation on what she might offer.

Roose listens to her struggling and grins a bit. She still needs some toughening up it seems. "I do not know. What do you have to give? I do not know what wonders you have brought from the sky? A cloud I can hold in my hand? A piece of the glowing moon? An ember of the sun?" His tone holds teasing, as he does not honestly believe she could have these things. "What do you think having a companion animal is worth? And importantly are you able to care for it properly? You skaikru seem to be a touch irresponsible in many ways."

"Maybe you can teach me," is Cassandra's immediate response. Though a deer is slung over their shoulders and prevents them from making eye contact, he can hear the grin in her voice. She dodges his question yet again, instead asking another of her own: "Why didn't you go with the group that went to the Dropship? You could've seen for yourself all the things we have."

"Should our peoples agree to be friends, maybe I can teach how to care for them. It is not too difficult. They are not like horses, sheep, and other animals. Though, the cats are easier to care," Roose explains. In fact, cats care for themselves. They don't really have to do anything. "Not all of us can go. I will admit to being deeply curious about your people, but you have some of your people here to learn from, such as yourself. And Niner. I am learning much of your people from him." Is that a joke? There does seem to be a trace of humor in his voice, as though he knows that Niner is not representative of most skaikru.

<FS3> Cassandra rolls Brawn+brawn: Failure.

Cassandra can't tell if that's a joke, which is why she pauses and actually looks back towards Roose to understand if he's being serious. It's when she does so, eyebrows shooting upwards, that the weight of the deer slopes over her shoulders and her knees buckle beneath her. She drops her end of the kill, stumbling and making a wincing fool of herself. "Niner isn't like the rest of us," she insists, surging her arms forward to try and catch and stabilise the carcass. "Not all of us agree with him."

<FS3> Roose rolls Brawn+brawn: Good Success.

Roose feels the center of gravity for the kill shift as she tries to turn and does his best to keep it balanced on his shoulder, "Kasandra, focus, please." He is managing to keep the heavy animal put, but he appears to be straining a bit. "If you could lift your end again or do we need to stop for a break to let you catch you breath." He winces slightly at the effort of holding the animal up. Spirit eyes him, wondering what in the world he is trying to do. "Yes, yes, I know that Niner is a fool and what he says isn't the voice of your camp. I am enjoying some humor at your expense."

It's true — she looks like she's out of breath. The ability to exercise on the Ark is limited, and far from encouraged given the need to conserve oxygen. So she places her hands on her knees, pausing for a moment before she wordlessly reaches for her end of the deer again and drawing it back to her shoulder. "What will you do with Niner?" she asks. "And others like him?" Oddly, her tone is passive. She doesn't sound to be overly concerned for her fellow's wellbeing.

Roose drops his end of the deer as she pauses, even though she starts to move on and pick it up. "Come. Sit and rest. You are tired." He pulls a waterskin from his belt and unplugs, holding it out to her to drink, before taking a seat on the ground. Spirit pads over and decides to lay down in front of him to rest as well. "Do to him? Nothing, unless he does something we must deal with. He is yours, so he is yours to do with."

As much as the skygirl wants to falsely prove that she can handle herself down here on Earth, when Roose insists on it, she takes the opportunity to seat herself on a rock, taking a deep breath and wiping the sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. "You know, it's weird for us," she admits out of the blue, glancing down to the dead deer's eyes. "Eating animals. We never did that on the Ark. It's new. We used to live on plants."

Roose does not seem to mind the fact that she cannot carry the deer all the way. He is still impressed she was able to find the animals to begin with. "I imagined that was so, since you said there no animals on the Ark. We also eat plants, but animals provide food too. We will take what we can procure to feed our families." He looks to the deer then and starts figuring about how any people can be feed from it for how long. "Do you like the taste of them?" he inquires as he turns to look at her, wondering what it would be like to taste meat for the first time.

Though she hesitates, eventually Cassandra nods her head. She gives Roose a slightly guilty look, and a weary smile, as if she believes this ought not to be so; that eating animal flesh is bizarre, but oh so delicious. "Well it's not really a question of liking it, is it?" she replies. "It's a question of survival. We need meat if we're going to make it." She reaches out and gives the corpse's flank a big pat, overcoming her fear of the beast and reducing it to an object. "Collecting enough berries and nuts to feed everyone takes a week and lots of hands on deck. Killing one deer takes a few hours and we managed it the two of us, even if we lost the first."

Roose shrugs. "You can grow crops like our farmers do. Grow enough and you can feed everyone with just that." He watches her catch her breath and relax, trying to decide when a good time to continue would be. "Still, meat does taste good, and, if you have a dog, that is what you must feed it. They do not much like the plants." Spirit perks pu ad looks at the two of them, almost as though she was agreeing with that assessment.

Looking towards Spirit, Cassandra reaches out to ruffle the fur between the dog's ears, with more confidence in the motion this time. "Ain't stupid," she says, with some resolve. "We do what must be done." Eager to prove herself anew, she rises to her feet and readies herself by her end of the deer, though she looks to Roose expectantly first. She waits for him to assist before attempting to haul the carcass back up alone.

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